Riverbank City Mayor Richard O’Brien led a presentation on the possibilities of District Elections coming to Riverbank at a special forum on Saturday, March 14.
A consultant from National Demographics Corporation explained how drawing district boundary lines might be implemented, following a series of similar public forums and workshops, leading to an advisory election.
Voters would have the opportunity to weigh in on whether such action is necessary ... or needed ... but he said the council would most likely feel pressured into adopting a plan for fear of being sued for failing to comply with requirements of state and federal voters rights laws.
In drawing up eight potential configurations for creating four voting districts in Riverbank, the consultant said his company relied on 2010 census data, as well as voter tabulations and other local records, in order to balance the size of the districts, keeping them more or less equal, with about 5,600 residents in each. Present plans call for the retention of a city-wide mayor’s seat, but that could change.
O’Brien told the crowd he expected to be able to implement district elections in the 2016 cycle, or possibly 2018, if the council votes to set the boundaries.
One purpose of the forum was to begin the selection process by handing out colored stickers to participants to attach to their favored map. The mayor has said he hopes to narrow the choices down to just two when it comes to the public vote.
Because Vice Mayor Darlene Barber-Martinez and council members Leanne Jones-Cruz and Jeanine Tucker were in attendance, constituting a quorum of the council, the meeting was ‘noticed’ and agendized and conducted as a regular council meeting. Cal Campbell was absent.
One feature not normally found at a council meeting was the presence of a professional interpreter/translator, with the accompanying headsets, for those who wished to participate in Spanish.
Mayor O’Brien told the group that there will be many more forums and opportunities for the public to participate in the process.
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